Report: USM Adds $16.3 Million to Leavenworth Economy

8/11/2014 12:00:00 AM

Analysis also stresses USM’s positive impact on students’ future earnings

(Leavenworth, Kan..)—According to a new study commissioned by the Kansas Independent College Association (KICA), the University of Saint Mary pumped $16.3 million into the Leavenworth County economy in FY 2012-2013. The university also provides measurable benefits for its students—a return of $2.40 in increased future income for every dollar invested in their education.

The KICA report, “Demonstrating the Economic Value of the Kansas Independent Colleges and Universities,” examined the economic impact of Kansas’ 18 private colleges and was conducted by Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI). The full report can be found at

According to the report, the state’s 18 private colleges collectively generate $981 million in new income each year for the Kansas economy. The economic impact of the colleges is sufficient to create 21,968 new jobs in Kansas every year and generate $2.8 billion in social benefits to the state through increased business output and improvements in health and public safety that accrue from the graduates of Kansas’ private colleges.

The study analyzed the contributions to the Kansas economy by the private colleges that would not otherwise occur if the colleges did not exist. The report’s findings show that the colleges’ impact on Kansas’ economy is nearly equivalent to Kansas hosting the Super Bowl nine times each year.

“We have always known that Kansas’ independent colleges were important to the Kansas economy,” said Matt Lindsey, president of the KICA. “This study demonstrates just how truly powerful the contribution is that our students, faculty, and institutions make and how essential Kansas’ independent colleges are to Kansas’ future.”

“As one of the oldest institutions in Leavenworth, Saint Mary has always had a positive impact on the community,” said USM President Sister Diane Steele. “However, with the growth of Saint Mary over the past 10 years, our economic impact on the area has grown significantly.”

USM highlights in the study include:

USM provides about $84 million in benefits to society—$62.8 million in added state income over the course of USM graduates’ working lives, and $21 million in present value social savings related to reduced crime, lower unemployment, and increased health and well-being across the state.
USM students who moved into Leavenworth County to attend school added about $2.4 million to the county economy, and visitors provided another $1.3 million.

The overall study emphasizes the importance of private colleges to the state of Kansas, pointing out that Kansas’ 18 private colleges and universities enroll more than 10,500 out-of-state students each year—more out-of-state students to Kansas than any other college or the university in the state.

Besides the 21,968 jobs that the colleges’ activities could generate, the colleges themselves employ 4,390 faculty and staff in Kansas, making the colleges collectively the seventh largest non-governmental employer based in the state. KICA colleges receive zero institutional funds from the state budget, thus nearly all of the colleges’ operating budgets are privately funded.

The Kansas Independent College Association, founding in 1976, is a 501(c)4 organization that works to provide support and services to the independent colleges of the state.  The member institutions are Baker University, Benedictine College, Bethany College, Bethel College, Central Christian College, Donnelly College, Friends University, Hesston College, Kansas Wesleyan University, McPherson College, Manhattan Christian College, MidAmerica Nazarene University, Newman University, Ottawa University, Southwestern College, Sterling College, Tabor College, and the University of Saint Mary.